Sunday, December 28, 2008

Being Resolute.

It's almost that time of year. Maybe you're the kind of person who has the same old resolution every year. Go to the gym, eat less, smile more . . . I'm not a resolution keeper. I don't even make them. Why bother, really? Telling a bunch of folks about the things that I'm going to do when I know deep down that I'm not going to do them just seems like a perfectly good waste of a lie.

This year will be different. It already is. I'm starting out fresh in February. New workplace, switchin' up the job. I'm excited and I've already been planning. The three things I resolve to do this year fit in quite nicely.

The first is for me, and only me. I've been reviving my knitting habit, and I'm really happy. It's been fulfilling me in a way that it never did before. Maybe it's knowing that it was men and sailors who were among the first knitters, maybe it's just knowing that knitting is a portable project that I can take on board with little hassle. (And odds are good that no one will steal it until it's finished.) But this year I resolve to finish a sweater. I have chosen the February Lady sweater, a popular pattern based on a baby sweater. I was lucky enough to win a blog giveaway from Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farms of a whole pound of gorgeous kelly green Cormo wool. By the end of my deployment (whenever that is) I should have a finished project to be proud of, and I will have kept a resolution.

Resolutions 2 and 3 to come . . .

Friday, December 26, 2008

Let's Talk Coffee!

So it's been well established what I do for a living. Along with life at sea comes long hours in cold, boring spaces (that's what we call rooms on ships.) My job on a ship, by and large, is not that exciting. (It does GET exciting, but not very often, for very long, and we're talking about the boring parts.) So how do we do it? For me, it's coffee. I drink coffee all day long. I can drink anything, any roast, cold or hot, weak, strong or burnt. Even *shiver* instant. But let's face it, I can, but I'm a coffee elitist at heart. So this Christmas, El Jefe got me one of these babies.

It's a burr coffee grinder, and I am completely in love. I love trying new coffees, and the Greenie in me loves Fair-Trade, Organic coffees. But the problem is that often these small, home roasters offer their coffee in whole bean form. To have it all ground and sitting on my counter (even in an airtight container at room temperature) would be to lose some of the freshness. Most roasters will grind for you, so please try some, but if you LOVE it, get a burr grinder.

Once upon a time, I had a small blade grinder. You've seen them - small handheld, pour the beans in and flip it over because the top is the ground-bean vessel. It was good while it lasted, but it's grind wasn't consistent, it was a pain to clean, and it was really loud. The other problem with blade grinders is heat. The amount of time it takes to get a consistent(ish) grind burns your beans, causing bitterness.

Of the two kind of burr grinders, cone and disk, mine is a disk grinder. Great for home application (yay) and easy to clean, and affordable, now I can have freshly ground coffee when I want without having hit hit the drive-thru. Now I just need a cup like this one:

Available at Fred Flare for $22, made of porcelain with a silicone lid.

And some of this, which I have been lusting over FOREVER:

Brainscan Fair Trade Organic coffee!

I hope you enjoyed my "I love what I got for Christmas post", there's more to come!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Business of Selling Yourself in America

Many of you have probably heard of the law (H.R. 4040) passed in August which seeks to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (legalese.) Unfortunately, an unintended effect of this law may very well be the end of many small businesses. There is lots more information to be had on the subject, my jumping off point was the Handmade Toy Alliance . This proved to be an excellent resource for all of the information I needed. The actual law itself is 68 pages long and can be read in it's entirety here. There are also wonderful abridged versions here and here by some crafter momtrepreneurs.

To make a long story short, it would appear that SOMETHING is being done in Washington. I recieved a well written email this morning from my congressman Providing me with a place to provide feedback to the CPSC. Here's a copy of the letter so that you can provide your comments too.

December 22, 2008

Jennifer Lastname
123 House Street
So Cal, CA

Dear Jennifer:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding consumer safety. It's a pleasure to hear from you.

As you know, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 (Rush-IL), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act, which seeks to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC's mission is to protect children and families against unreasonable risk of injury and death from over 15,000 types of consumer products.

Like you, I am concerned by the uncertainty many Americans have with the safety of products that are imported and sold in the U.S. For this reason, I voted in favor of H.R. 4040 when it passed the House of Representatives on December 19, 2007, by a vote of 407-0. President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law on August 14, 2008 (P.L. 110-314).

I agree with you that this bill, while favorable with respect to enhancing the effectiveness of the CPSC, also has several provisions that may harm small businesses instead of solely focusing on increased product safety. I am currently unaware of any legislation at the present time that has been introduced in the House to address these concerns, but you will be interested to learn that the CPSC is currently accepting comments on Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Mandatory Third-Party Testing for Certain Children's Products until January 30, 2009. I would strongly encourage you to email your comments to

Thank you again for contacting me. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress

Low Standards Tee by Fatamerican at

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Review of SmartWool Saturnsphere Socks - Women's

Originally submitted at REI

Multicolored socks are simply more fun, and these striped Saturn socks from SmartWool fit that bill.

The only socks I have ever loved.

By Sailor Jenny from San Diego, CA on 12/19/2008


5out of 5

Gift: No

Fit: Feels true to size

Pros: Durable, Good Design, Cushy, Comfortable, Stylish, Regulates Temperature Well, Wicks Away Moisture, Colorful

Cons: Pricey

Best Uses: Travel, Daily Use

Describe Yourself: Casual Adventurer

These are the socks that I put on after wearing dress shoes all day. I love the colorway(s) and the patterns because I can be funky and comfortable. My feet don't get hot and sweaty like they do in cotton socks, and they're WAY more comfortable than even hand knit socks (which I still love, just not under shoes or to walk in.) Every trip to REI, I scour the clearance bins for just one pair. Definitely my favorite!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Get outta my dreams . . . .

And into my blog.

Seriously, every day whist sitting in the inevitable traffic I come up with something that I MUST SHARE! And then get home and forget it all. I spend a good amount of time waiting for laundry and reading blogs, or ducking work and reading blogs (shhhhhh . . . Jeff, don't tell on me!) or waiting for baby to settle and sleep and reading blogs. I comment on some, am ravenous about a few, and I feel bad that I'm not the web presence I wish I were.

So instead, here's a comprehensive list of all the other places to find me on the web. Most link to each other somehow, but here they are in one place.

Facebook. I spend a lot of time here reconnecting with old friends. Not so much making new ones.

I do that here on Twitter! If you really want to know how I am right this minute, that's the best place to find me.

Often I'm on Etsy, shopping for wonderfulness. Lately I shop for yarn and other fibery goodness. Which I then share . . .

On Ravelry. Or will, anyway, once I'm a little more comfy there. It's knitting time, what with the cold, the rain, and the fact that I'm not sure how much time/energy I'll have on the ship.

So until I get that voice recorder I've been wanting, check me out in these places and please try and keep up with my sporadic updates. Meanwhile, check out Petra's blog for laughs and that acrid New England attitude you've come to love.

(Yarn by simplytwisted, who rocks.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The List

The List
So I came across this list on and thought I would take part too!
You're just supposed to go through the list and bold the things you've done. Bolded more than I thought I would, but a few of those are still on my list of things to do before I die. (Old Faithful, Niagra Falls . . .)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Bucket List earrings by bearrunroad.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Prioritizing. Organizing. Rethinking.

Prioritize Notepad, RedVelvetArt

*Diana, this is for you.

All over the news all you hear is that the economy is in the toilet; the government is paying to bail out people who made bad decisions because they weren't fully informed and companies who did so knowingly; neighbors are pitted against neighbors and by all accounts it's turmoil.

I'm doing okay. WE'RE doing okay. But it's got me thinking, and for the very first time in my life - doing. I grew up pretty priveleged. Solidly upper middle class. Great schools, great friends (all of whom are still great folks) great opportunities for success, all without doing much. Then at 18, I enlisted. I know you all see the news about how hard it is to be a young military family, and it is, but it gets a lot easier. We are once again middle class. My kids want for nothing. (Okay, Sam wants a pocket bike and a cell phone, no and no.) They have plenty of opportunities, and yet so many are denied them because of pure unadulterated American discrimination.

Semaphore Love block print card, nydampress

So I've spent a lot of time in the last few months/weeks trying to do what I can to fix that. And I'm realizing lately that more than ever, what I need to do for ME is to succeed at my job. We all know that I AM a United States Sailor, but I'm an Atheist, too. And I believe that equality is for everyone. And I believe that Barack Obama truly has the best interests of my country and my children at heart. And I believe that the best way to stick it to all of the discriminatory Americans who don't want my friends to marry who they love, don't want someone with Muslim blood (I didn't know religion was blood borne) to become president, and don't want young women to be able to make choices that may save their lives without Daddy breathing down their necks; is to continue to fight for their right to say whatever they want. To continue to fight for their right to disallow my children to be boy/girlscouts, to require that god be thanked before every little league game, to allow prayer before every town meeting. So I registered to vote, I've volunteered, I've contributed. And I plan on succeeding at my day job. And leading sailors into whatever we're ordered to do, with no discrimination, no favoritism.

Success in View, SailorJenny

We in the military lament so often on the freedoms we DON'T have. We leave for long periods of time, often unable to talk to our families at all, sometimes they can't know where we are. We work 24/7, we stand duty for long hours, we do often thankless jobs in the face of disaster for countries who've been our enemy . But never before and probably never again have I worked in a less discriminatory environment. We take care of our own, everyone wears blue. There's no men, women, colors, only sailors.

So I've put the jewelry on hold. I'm not really sure I can function in a real world environment just yet. I have so much more to do between the Navy and my own home, that having that one more thing on my plate just proved too much. My things will stay on Etsy, and there will be more. But they're therapy, not a business. My business is my country and my family.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Future of the Fleet

Vintage Number One Teacher Coffee Mug, DoNotDestroy

I've been spending a whole lot of time NOT here, and most of my Facebook and Twitter updates have been that I was studying. I'll probably be MIA for another two weeks or so, and I thought I should explain myself.

My day job is to train sailors on new/replacement skills, specifically maintenance of equipment. I have learned an immense amount abut instruction and learning; and really people in general. Now it's time to move on and become a little more qualified. I'm working on my Master Training Specialist qualification, which will help me to become a better instructor and leader, and the fundamentals of curriculum development. (A side effect of which is that MTS is a easily recognized skill in the corporate world . . .)

"The Navy's MTS program recognizes instructors who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, technical competence, application of instructional methodology, and desire to improve fleet readiness through quality instruction."

It is pages of memorization, and once all of the training is complete, a 3 step process. I passed my test, which was Phase 1. Next is my Pre-board on Monday afternoon, a test of my fundamental knowledge on the subject. When I pass that, I have another week to prepare for my final Board, which is the application process, where I get to create curriculum and teach to demonstrate my ability. So phew, I'm tired. I'm stressed from memorizing instruction numbers and acronyms, and I just want this done. I'm so close.

I'll be back, and probably in a really good mood when this is all over!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bittersweet week.

"With No Anchor, With No You" - thedreamygiraffe -$20

I aplologise for my probably inconspicuous absence, but I've been here, being sad and keeping busy. My shipmates know (and now you do too), that I was up for a big promotion this year. It's an annual promotion, selected by board after a grueling exam, and I thought I had a good shot this year. I did, really. But for whatever reason, I was (am) not what they were looking for. Circumstances being what they are, I have a hard time escaping my failure. You see, El Jefe has already attained this level in his career. Two years ago, he was selected and the carnival ride that is the transition period began. El Jefe means The Chief. And he is.

Advancement into the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval ranks. At the rank of Chief, the sailor takes on more administrative duties. In the Navy, their uniform changes to reflect this change of duty, becoming similar to that of an officer albeit with different insignia.

I was eligible for advancement with several of my friends, a few of whom were selected. Mike, Mike, and Jeff; you guys deserve it and I can't wait to shake your hands when it's all over. That part makes it sweet. El Jefe has been chosen to "sponsor" one of his own selectees - an honor in and of itself. He's through the roof proud, and so am I. But I'm still sad. My friends are moving on without me, El Jefe's caught up in the work of the next 5 weeks (the process is a long one . . .) and I haven't really had time for myself to just be sad. It's hard to vent to him, he's very supportive, but hard on me. And he's very busy himself. Sigh. I really just need to take a day off, but I've taken on a bunch more work - both to busy myself and numb the pain, and to do what I can to come closer next year.

Must go study!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This has been a tattoo-riffic weekend. In the fine tradition of my sailor heritage, I have quite a few tattoos. I'm a collector of sorts. They chronicle my personal journey; life changing events. Here is the latest.

It is an illustration from Thing Two's favorite children's book when she was small - Goodnight Moon. Framed by the window is the moon and an Apollo CSM. On the CSM are the roman numerals IX XI. All of these things have meaning somehow or another, but here's the general breakdown of this one.

Thing Two loves Goodnight Moon. This is HER tattoo. Also, the IX XI on the CSM are her birthdate.

El Jefe and Thing One are Space Geeks. They are fascinated by the space race, and you often see either (or both) of them watching the science channel's many space shows. Space week was like a holiday here. I promised El Jefe long, long ago that I would never have his name or likeness tattooed. And I will keep my word. But he is my command module, unable to do anything, but keeping a close eye on me at all times and dispensing careful advice. And now I have that analogy forever with me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


So . . .I've caved. I signed up on Facebook a while ago so I could talk to my cousin who quit myspace. I went there recently to visit my cousin and found a message from a high school friend. Enter a world I didn't expect. The one where everyone seems to have grown up and they all seem really cool again. Sigh. Growing up is so wierd. But . . . I found a few cool blogs along the way! Mark has Songs From a Mixtape, and the other Mark has Chronicle of a Gay Marriage . I think I've pimped them before, but seriously, check out The Bullet Points. And Herman. Jay (and Neal, who probably still thinks I'm a psycho) are geniuses. And Check out for the ramblings of Sarah. Craziness that high school was that long ago.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Matchy, matchy!!

I have never been one who coordinates well. I have always wished that I coud look put together and matchy - you know the girls with the matching bag/keychain/wallet combo? Of course it's always expensive, and I've given up expensive handbags for more quantity. And I prefer to support craftsmanship over a big company.

I'm pretty sure I just hit the jackpot! BizzieLizzie, one of the craftswomen in the Handbook to Handmade, has the cutest coordinated handbags! She makes everything from bags to buisness car holders to tissue cases, and all in coordinating colors. And they're affordable! I love this blue pattern . . .

Charlotte makes the prettiest bags and pays special attention to detail. Looking for a custom piece? Just ask! Her shop is merely a click away! I am so excited to see her wonderful work in the upcoming Handbook to Handmade!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm so excited!

One of the sellers on Etsy, a talented metalsmith(TimothyAdam), has come up with a great idea. I have wanted a portfolio for some time, but wasn't quite sure how to put one together or whether I really had enough depth in my work to pull one off. That's still planned for later, but meanwhile, check out this great book! Called The Handbook to Handmade, it features 35 artists and their shops, showcasing their favorite items and a short description of their work, their vision - anything! It's all bound professionally and is a wonderful advertising tool. I can't wait to see my work in print and to have something to show off on those occasions when it's just not a great idea to carry all of my jewelry. There are still slots available, and if you're not quite ready yet, there's advertising space available, too! If you are a small business who has a shop on Etsy and are in need of a little something to carry around (and want to showcase some other great talent, too . . .) try the Handbook!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I know what angels sound like.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am not a religious person. In fact, I'm pretty much the antithesis of that. But I swear that there is one thing on Earth that can make me question my lack of a belief system.

On Monday, El Jefe and I went to see Alison Krauss and Robert Plant live at Humphrey's. (San Diegans, if you have the opportuntiy to see an artist you enjoy at this great venue, GO!) They collaborated in 2007 on an album called Raising Sand. Produced by T Bone Burnett (a legend on his own), it is a compilation of mostly lesser-known material from some of the great writers of blues, country, folk, gospel, and R&B, including Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Milt Campbell, the Everly Brothers, Sam Phillips, and A.D. and Rosa Lee Watson. The album is amazing, the pairing, moreso. (Side note. When I reach 60, I hope to look as good as Robert Plant. Damn.)

It was an amazing show, but the two best moments were Black Dog - slowed WAY down and haunting; and Down to the River. If you have never heard Alison Krauss sing live, you are missing out. There are tons of You Tube videos, Here is Down to the River and Black Dog OMG banjo. I won't embed them, you have to watch them without distractions. Alison Krauss has simply the most beautiful voice. Ever, anywhere. I'm not a fan of Country music, but I'm a fan of her. Wow.

So it was a nice birthday gift for El Jefe, who turned another year older on Wednesday. Wow, I'm still gushing!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Big Read

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program locally, ideally attended by the mayor and other local luminaries; major events devoted specifically to the book (panel discussions, author reading, and the like); events using the book as a point of departure (film screenings, theatrical readings, and so forth); and book discussions in diverse locations and aimed at a wide range of audiences.

The NEA inaugurated The Big Read as a pilot project in 2006 with ten communities featuring four books. The Big Read continues to expand to include more communities and additional books. By 2009, approximately 400 communities in the U.S. will have hosted a Big Read since the program's 2007 national launch.

I found this great idea on Beneath The Rowan Tree. The Big Read says that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

Well let's see. Here's how it works.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, and strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who've read only 6 or less and
make them read.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. The Harry Potter Series JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh .
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen .
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan .
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert (I'm still working on Dune, dammit.)
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville -
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry .
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I must say, I do NOT agree with the current top 100. Narnia would be above Harry Potter on my personal list, and I'm NOT AT ALL a fan of Dickens. A Handmaid's Tale is my favorite book. Ever. And why only fiction? Anyway, check the list. Be a proud reader! And encourage reading. My kids are already readers, and we (el Jefe and I) read A LOT. Sometimes out at sea when the whole world as you know it (583'x23'7") is a yucky soul eating mess, books are the only things that keep me from screaming.

And check out Beneath The Rowan Tree at Etsy. I was headed there today anyway, because she sells lovely kid safe, natural toys. We have some wonderful playsilks and Anna just loves them! Thanks!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Etsy wonderfulness!

Okay, it's a little long in coming, but I thought I'd blog about a few wonderful Etsy sellers and their wonderful things! I have received a few items lately that have made me very happy, and I want to share my joy (and a few stories.)

First, the very first artist whose original work I had in my collection. If you have never owned an original piece of artwork before I urge you to do so. Buy the painting. Find a place for the sculpture! I agree, that beautiful stained glass will look awesome in your kitchen. Diana Crites is an artist with a tendency towards the dark side of life. No sugar coat for her. Since I stumbled upon her shop, I had my eye on a particular work, a pen and ink of a little girl. But not just any little curly haired girl. Noooo! This one was on fire.

Funny story (now.) When I was 4, I was in my Aunt and Uncle's wedding. I LOVED being a flower girl. Auntie Karen (and yes, I still call her Auntie) made my dress, with it's wonderful yellow sash/ribbon/belt and eyelet lace. I got to carry flowers and be pretty. Then my other Uncle got married. Total letdown. No pretty handmade dress, no basket of flowers, no front table away from mom and dad where I could eat all the veggie dip. And matches at the table! My very own little new box of matches! Ha! Revenge. Until I got burned on the finger, and dropped the match. Needless to say, Diana's pen and ink brought back memories in a flash.

The talent that oozes from this piece is astounding. Seriously, I had no idea it would be this amazing. In her shop paynesgrey, Diana offers several more original ink drawings, and some amazing prints and original paintings. Please, check her out, and seriously consider buying your own original. You won't regret it, especially if you buy from Diana.

I have one of those jobs where I sign a lot of papers all day, and require others to sign them too. If you have a job like this, you know that it is hazardous. I can easily go through five pens in a day if I don't pay attention. Problem is, I love great pens. I love how they feel, how they write, the very weight in your pocket. I used to buy the semi-good Zebras, but I lost them too much to opportunist memo signers. I don't like carrying the cheap ones, even if only to lend out. (Those are in a cup on my desk.) I decided one day that I needed a nice pen. A refillable pen. One that would make me proud, feel nice in my pocket, and most importantly - be memorable. Folks don't steal pens they ask about before they use them. Trust me. So browsing Etsy, I found these.

They are made by an artist named Thom Taylor. I have the Spalted Maple Slimline (The bottom photo) and couldn't be happier. It has never been stolen, feels wonderful, has a wonderful waxed finish and writes like a dream, since it has Cross guts. If you use a writing instrument often, and like the feel of good pens and wonderful artistry, please visit Thom's shop. He goes by the moniker Pilot1022, and has plenty of beautiful offerings.

Whew, okay. I have so many wonderful things to blog about, I think I'll break it up . . . back soon!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eleven years has FLOWN by.

El Jefe and I have been married for 11 years today. (OK, so our families found out about 10 years ago - but who's counting?) Here's a blast from the past ('02, since that was the beginning of the digital age for us!)

And here's a NOW picture. Whew. What a long (and short) strange (and wonderful) trip it's been.

Suggested Aniversary gifts? Steel and jewelry. Hell yeah. I'm all over that. TimothyAdamDesigns has it covered! Or OMG, this RING!!! No way, I love this watch!!!

Happy anniversary to me!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'm alive and quite well.

There's quite a lot going on here at Casa de Jenny, so I apologize for my absence. I promise, next week (Saturday, probably) I'll be back to my usual blogging. But for now, feast your eyes. (Click to see it in a bigger size. Totally worth it!)

I got this today (on the heels of another wonderful piece which I will blog at a later date). It rocks. I can't explain the feeling of seeing yourself on canvas if you haven't experienced it. It's amazing. It's in honor of our 11th anniversary, on Tuesday the 10th. Eleven years. Craziness. So I felt it needed commemoration. Anne knocked it out of the park. This is US. In all of our dorky, self assured glory.

It was done by AnneE on Etsy, and was a custom commission from Alchemy. She does awesome work for sale in her shop, and is SUPER cool and easy to work with. Thanks, Anne!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Green Saturday: Green Gifting!

Oh noes! I almost forgot Mother's Day! Not to worry. There's still plenty of available gift ideas within reach - and better yet, great for Mother Earth, too.

On the way to mom's for a dinner that you'll cook (or that the dad's will cook?) Stop by the store and pick up these ingredients, and follow these simple directions to make a bird wreath with mom! Great idea for the kids, and lots of fun later. The kids will love hanging out with Grandma watching the silly bird antics, and the birds will love having a great safe place to come and get some spring goodies! Can't visit mom this year? How about sending one of these? Edible Sunflower Bird Feeder Wreath

Handcrafted Primitive Birdhouse , birdhouseaccents

My family loves the outdoors. Living in San Diego, we have the benefit of great weather and some beautiful places to visit. America really does have a lot to offer. How about giving mom a taste of America? Plan an event; take her to one of the many National Parks and experience it together! The National Park Service is an important participant in the new Interagency Pass Program which was created by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and authorized by Congress in December 2004. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. Looking for a park near you? Look here. The Cape Cod National Seashore is one of my favorite places on earth, and a National Park.

OCEAN ENCHANTRESS Bracelet, CapeCodCupboard

It's still not too late to plant Mom a tree! The Arbor Day Foundation's Trees in Memory and Trees in Celebration programs plant lodgepole pine and Douglasfir trees in national forests which have been destroyed by fire, disease or insect. When you plant a tree in memory of a loved one, or to mark a special occasion, you contribute to a healthier environment and provide for future generations. As the trees grow and prosper, so does the meaning of your gift. Over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion.
Your trees will be silent sentinels, honorable monuments, and for decades to come, active participants in nature's plan.

Another option for planting trees is the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. They are a unique nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit needy populations and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water.
Our programs, recently featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Hindu, and Plenty magazine, strategically plant orchards where the harvest will best serve the community for decades to follow, at places such as public schools, homeless shelters, drug rehabs, low-income areas, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries. FTPF's projects benefit the environment, human health, and animal welfare—all at once! What a great gift for mom!

A Seed is All You Need, Colorful Handmade Paper Cards with Wildflower Seeds, recycledideas

Whatever your Mother's Day Gift, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day, whether spending it with your Mom, or eating breakfast in bed made by the kiddos!

Friday, May 9, 2008

On hiatus. . .

Sorry, my loyal WTW readers (that's short for World Travel Wednesday). I'm on a short hiatus. I'll be back for Green Saturday tomorrow!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cut out and Keep

I found this website that may prove to be awesome. Like I need another website to keep me company on those long cold nights. But just in case you're looking - try out Cool people sharing cool projects, both through tutorials and just "look at me!" posts. Fun! (And I'm pretty sure I recognize some Etsy avi's.) I want to be your friend. I'm Sailor J.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Green Saturday - Girls Gone Green!

Ugh. Time to talk about that thing we all either dread or look forward to every month. Whether you embrace your female self, or hate dealing with all of the symptoms of it all, there are lots of different ways of dealing with it. When El Jefe and I were married, I went on Depo Provera for a cycle (one shot). I figured I wouldn't have to deal with the mess every month, carrying around different tampons, napkins, wet wipes, a spare pair of pants in the car . . . and no babies. Wow. Did I ever miss my cycle those three months. I'm one of those girls who can't tolerate Depo. The stories you've heard of girls becoming raving lunatics? Me. Heaving sobbing puddles of snot? Me. I wish I had had a cycle chart or some cycle beads to help me out.

Menstrual Beads - Turquoise 'n Black Necklace, DoulaHara

I was one of those lucky girls whose folks just tossed a book on my bed (Growing Up, Feeling Good) and hoped I would figure it out. (They did okay, I fiured it out.) I hope I do a little better by my daughter, and I can teach her more about her body than my Mom knew about hers. I wish I had found one of these beautiful necklaces. It wasn't until I realized that hormonal birth control wouldn't work for me that I learned a little more about my self.

Chart Your Cycle - A menstrual chart to help you go with the flow, HolisticallyHeather

So when I got to a ship, where I knew I'd spend months at a time (and don't ask where the used supplies go.) I knew I was going to need a new solution. You see, blood is a biohazard. You can't just dump it in the ocean. And if you don't pull in to a port that can accept "medical waste", it stays on board. You do have a few options. When I first got to a ship, I used Instead. A disposable Menstrual Cup, it does not absorb any blood, simply catching it in the cup. When I took it out, I would dump it, rinse it, and toss it in with the plastics; no longer medical waste. That was a great solution for me for a long time. But it had a few problems. First, if not inserted correctly, it leaked a little, meaning I had to wear pantiliners on heavy days. No longer a Green option. Until I discovered cloth pads. I love these. I don't wear just pads. So I never have to deal with any bulkiness. I love cloth pads because they're washable, and they are a little secret. I can wear butterflies or goth themed pads and no one will ever know. And I can wash my own.

Claire de Lune Cloth Menstrual Wetbag and Set of 4 Maxis, clairedelune

The other issue I had with Instead is that it IS disposable. When on a deployment, you can't always get mail in a timely manner. Sometimes no at all for a while. What if you run out?? That's where the Diva / Mooncup come in. They were an easy transition from Instead, only now I can keep the cup! No waste, no storage issues (our storage area is tiny) and no running out. If you're not comfortable with the softcups, theres another option, too. Sea Pearls are natural tampons made of Atlantic sea sponges, a reusable sustainable resource. They're comfortable and easy to use, and an affordable green option.

There are plenty of green products out there to make your cycle easier, more fun, or more secret. It's definitely not a taboo subject anymore. Look around and I'll bet you can find some great alternatives! (Like this Cramp Kit, which looks lovely!)

Natural Menstrual Cramp Relief Kit, JoyfulGirlNatural

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Twelve Years, man!

I, Sailor Jenny, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This was me only 10 hours ago. Six more years for the country I love. In front of my co workers, my husband, my bosses (all six of them) and a boatload of Brass. And I meant every word.

U.S. Navy Memorial, Washington DC

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

World Travel Wednesday - Old Town!

I hope my loyal readers will excuse the fact that I'm already bushed; and this will be short. But I promise - Patriotism and Tradition tomorrow if you can bear with me.

Today I ventured out with Thing One's class to Old Town San Diego. Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego. At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza.

San Diego Alcala 2, ArtPhotoGirl

Our guide this morning was Sherriff McCoy, State Senator and Sherriff of San Diego. In March 2000, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) completed construction of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Entry Redevelopment project, which included extensive landscaping and reconstruction of the McCoy House. State Park archaeologists excavated in Old Town San Diego in 1995 to recover information needed to reconstruct a large residence built in 1869 by James McCoy, a well-to-do Irish immigrant who served as San Diego’s sheriff and state senator. Prior to 1851 the property belonged to Maria Eugenia Silvas, descendant of a Spanish Colonial soldier who came to Alta California in the 1770s.

Cactus Old Town, shellsnoel

Old town has lot to do; we saw the first Public schoolhouse in California, learned about adobe and it's use in the old west, about native California plants, and how to make butter! (The kids got to eat some with their snack of tortillas.) But what I really waned was CANDY! Old Town also boasts Cousin's Candy, an authentic penny candy store. They have some awesome old fashioned candy. (And sesame candy for cheap. Mmmm.)

Old Lithograph Print Small Town Scene Girl in High Boots, ArtPhotoGirl

It was a fun trip, all things considered, and it was nice to go with the Boy before he gets too old to want me there.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'm quite enjoying this curating thing. Have I mentioned that? Here's my latest go, for fans of Tommy Tutone (and Jennys, Jennis, Jenis, Jennies, Jennees, and heck, even the Jens and Jenns. Bring Jennifer and Jeniffer, too.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Green Saturday - Eco Friendly Gaming!

Yesterday I was stumped on what to blog about today. I usually have all of my research already done by Saturday, and there's kind of a lot going on in our casa right now, so I hadn't had time. Driving in the car, I asked El Jefe what he thought I should focus on this Saturday. "Well I should think it's pretty obvious!" was his reply.

It wasn't. But he's right, his answer should have been obvious. If you're a gamer (like El Jefe) you know that the first game to get 10's in all categories on is due out on Tuesday. Grand Theft Auto IV is currently the obsession here. And it was the answer. So in honor of the release of GTA4 (and El Jefe's cute funny self) I decided to look into gaming. Seems all is not so green.

Greenpeace, in particular is not happy with Nintendo. They put out this funny video called "Clash Of The Consoles" where you can learn which of the 3 is the worst. Poor little Mario comes out on the bottom. Seems Nintendo is not their favorite.

Floral Series - Wii Skin, NoveltyGallery

Greenpeace is not my favorite. I am a supporter of non-violent protest, letter writing campaigns (I mean who really writes letters anymore?) and telephone calls. GreenPEACE is known for their violent protest clashes. That gives me a bad taste in my mouth. All the same, my first recommendation, before spending that economic stimulus check on a new game console, is to do a little research. Nintendo has an environment section in their FAQ's, Sony has an in depth report page. Microsoft has not much that's easy to locate, but I'm a Mac girl.

And on that note, lets talk a little about that Alienware glowering in the corner. That water cooled processor? It's a big drain on power and probably costs more than you realize every month. Think about treating yourself to a new (and smaller) gaming laptop. This one from Alienware boasts the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor and everything from wallpaper and avatar selections to the proper time zone are personalized just the way you want it, right from the factory. Or maybe you'd be interested in this Vigor Atlantis Pro with a 20" WSXGA+ TFT panel and desktop-class Core 2 Duo processors from INTEL for uncompromised performance. Besides, should you want to actually be in the same ROOM as some of the other members of your 40-man, this is a great way to do it!

Item Block Pillow, punzie

And let's talk about how we get those games, shall we?? Though I am not a gamer in the true geek royalty sense, I enjoy a good romp in my Viva PiƱata garden every once in a while. I bought it at the GameStop here in town. Used. Yes - I went to the store and bought an already played game. This is a great deal! I keep games forever and continue to play them. El Jefe, on the other hand, plays a game until it is totally beaten and then is done. Lately he and his buddy Mr. T have been trading games. I love this plan. This way they don't take up space and someone else gets to enjoy them. So if you are a buy-it-when-it-comes-out gamer, please share with your buds (besides how else can you brag about achievements if they haven't played the game?) And when the bragging is over, take them back to GameStop and let someone like me buy them.

Guitar Hero Embroidery design, ia2ca

Another option for buy-it-play-it-toss-it gamers is GameFly. Like NetFlix for games, you can rent, play through, return, and rent another. Perfect solution, especially for those who don't have a lot of game space. And hey, if you like it, buy it used!! And if you're done with your old console, consider donating it to a Children's Hospital or similar charity. Child's Play, the gamer charity, is always in need of new games, consoles and software for Children's Hospitals around the country.

And please, as always, when you're done playing (and you actually have to go to work or school), please turn your console off. Save your game (hooray for technological innovation) and shut your console OFF. You'll save a lot of power and a little money this way.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Thank you (again) to the lovely (and darkly cool) Diana, who has bestowed upon me the "E for Excellence" blog award. You have made my day. I am not alone in recieving this award, my co-awardees are ChristopherandTia. Please, I beg of you, go visit. It is hilarious and altogether human.

I almost forgot! I now have the incredible honor of passing the buck! I pass it to Heather, who has TWO excellent blogs. One is her own silly blog, the other has an amazing story of kindness to thank for it's beginnings, and hopefully a lot more kindness to thank for it's continued success. (So get out there and do something nice!) Yay Heather!